Feature Story from 2003
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- It took two referendums, but the majority of cotton growers in the north Mississippi Delta finally received enough votes to continue in regionwide efforts to eradicate boll weevils in their fields.
MISSISSIPPI STATE - The head of Mississippi State University's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering is serving as an officer in a national organization of his peers.
Jerry Gilbert was elected secretary and chair-elect of Committee P-210 of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers during the organization's recent annual meeting. Committee P-210 is comprised of biological engineering department heads from schools across the nation. Following his tenure as secretary and chair-elect, Gilbert will serve as the group's chair for 2004-05.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Fall is a good time to grow flowers and vegetables and plan for next spring, and it's also the time to visit the 25th annual Fall Flower and Garden Fest in Crystal Springs.
Held Oct. 17 and 18 at Mississippi State University's Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station, the event is free and open to the public. Doors are open Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the event is sponsored by the MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippians put tremendous effort into their landscapes during the spring and summer, but fall is also a good time to give yards special attention.
Typical summer chores most gardeners think about are pruning, planting, fertilizing and watering. These activities should continue into late August and September.
Norman Winter, horticulture specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said shaping plants with trimmers or shears one last time before winter is a good idea, but avoid major pruning.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Gardening enthusiasts can converge on Verona Sept. 20 for the annual North Mississippi Garden Expo.
The event, held at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, will feature columnist Felder Rushing and Nellie Neal, the "Garden Mama." The expo will occur from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
"We've planned an event that should have something for everyone at this year's garden expo," said Reuben Moore, center director. "This is a fun day for avid gardeners and families, and we expect about 1,000 people to attend."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children can learn a lot on the field of athletic competition, but one thing they don't need to learn is how to harass other athletes.
Thousands of young Mississippians are take part in organized sports each year. These activities give children the opportunity to stay physically fit, learn teamwork, build self-confidence, master new skills and receive personal satisfaction. But too often they have become places for negative lessons as well.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A closer look at the Aug. 22 results of the boll weevil referendum in the north Delta has changed the outcome from passing in both regions to passing only in Region IB.
A miscalculation of invalid ballots changed the percentage in Leflore, Quitman, Sunflower, Tunica and west Tallahatchie counties (Region 1A) from a 69 percent favorable vote to 65.95 percent, which is below the 66.667 percent required for passage. Votes from Bolivar, Coahoma and Washington counties (Region IB) supported the program with 68 percent of the vote.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- August and September are usually Mississippi's hottest, driest months, and when the cattle markets and pasture conditions are at their worst. But that is not the case this year.
An unusually wet summer for pastures and strong market prices are leaving cattle producers with fewer worries as winter approaches.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sweat and back-breaking work are still part of Mississippi agriculture, but many of today's farmers do a portion of their work in front of computers in air-conditioned comfort.
On Mississippi's high-tech, large farms, computers are as important a tool as tractors. Will McCarty, row crops specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said most of the state's largest farmers in any commodity run their businesses using computers. Common uses include record keeping, information gathering and operating equipment.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A series of four workshops sponsored by the Mississippi State University Extension Service will highlight the benefits of electronic retailing and provide tips to small business owners.
"Electronic Retailing: Selling on the Internet" will be offered in four different locations in the state on four dates in October and November: Oct. 21 in Cleveland, Oct. 28 in Raymond, Oct. 29 in D'Iberville and Nov. 6 in Verona.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dairy and beef cattle producers can learn the latest recommendations from researchers and Extension specialists during the North Mississippi Beef and Dairy Field Day on Sept. 18 in Marshall County.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. with the program starting at 9:30 a.m. at Mississippi State University's North Mississippi Branch Experiment Station, located about three miles north of Holly Springs off of Highway 7. Lunch will be provided.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sweetpotato growers have high hopes for this year's crop despite planting 1,500 fewer acres than in 2002.
Bad weather conditions damaged last fall's supply of the crop, which in turn increased the demand -- and price -- of sweetpotatoes this season.
"Supplies nationwide are low, so prices are pretty high at around $16.50 per 40-pound carton now," said Benny Graves, sweetpotato specialist with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce's Bureau of Plant Industry. "Now what we need to do is harvest a crop and make a profit."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- All veterinary students learn about swine, but one dual-degree major at Mississippi State University is gaining insight from a wildlife perspective.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wildlife specialists are encouraging aggressive hunting of a nontraditional large animal in Mississippi: wild hogs.
Mississippi State University researchers are gathering data on wild hog populations around the state and country. Two things they knew before they started their research were that hogs multiply rapidly, and they can cause extensive crop and property damage.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children in 65 Mississippi Delta area elementary schools will learn about nutrition through an innovative curriculum funded by a grant aimed at preventing childhood obesity.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is providing $1.57 million for the five-year grant to support nutrition programs in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. Childhood obesity is one of four key issues being addressed by a tri-state Extension Service "memorandum of understanding" signed May 15.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The only numbers looking good to Mississippi catfish producers this year are the disaster payment credits they have at the feed mill.
The supply of catfish is large, current prices are at break-even levels or lower than the cost of production, feed prices are inching up, and current acreage and production are down in Mississippi. But state catfish farmers are starting to receive their portion of the $20 million earmarked for disaster relief in Mississippi.
MISSISSIPPI STATE --When Marsha Rosanelli heard she had been accepted into veterinary school at Mississippi State University, she had more to think about than classes and homework -- she was about to have a baby.
As a testament to the class's commitment to helping every student succeed, Rosanelli's fellow classmates are making sure she gets her class notes, and they also threw her a surprise baby shower. Rosanelli's daughter was born Aug. 15. Veterinary classes started July 31.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rick Parsons of Vance is Mississippi's Farmer of the Year and the state's nominee for the 2003 southeastern award during the 26th annual Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition in Moultrie, Ga.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service chose Parsons for the honor because of his exemplary management skills with Fewell Planting Co. The farming operation covers 9,421 acres in Quitman and Tallahatchie counties, including 3,892 acres of irrigated corn that produces 176.5 bushels per acre.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Third-graders in schools across the state will receive fun flying discs, along with a valuable nutrition lesson, in observance of National Eat-5-a-Day Month in September.
Representatives from the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education and Family Nutrition programs with Mississippi State University's Extension Service will hand out almost 32,000 of the popular plastic throwing disc toys on Sept. 30. On the discs is the 5-a-Day Program logo.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The catfish industry's cash-strapped producers are set to receive their first-ever federal disaster assistance, and it couldn't come soon enough.
Feed accounts for half the cost of raising catfish and was $220 per ton in Mississippi in 2002. Catfish prices are at the lowest levels in 20 years and producers are finding themselves in financial stress.